At one point during the fall of 1991, a film crew from Comedy Central arrived at BBI to shoot a promotional documentary about the series called 'This is MST3K
With more than thirty episodes completed from the last few seasons (and being well received by the network and fans alike), the crew at BBI make an unusual request of the network... that Comedy Central no longer run 'Season One' episodes in the broadcast rotation. The different look and feel, plus the different on-screen talent of the Season One shows was uncomfortable for BBI, and they both informally agreed not to use them in the rerun rotation.
Let the experiment begin!
"Turn Down Your Lights (Where Applicable)"Experiment #320 ~ THE UNEARTHLY (1957)
with shorts ~ Posture Pals (1952)
and Appreciating Our Parents (1950)
Original Air Date: December 14, 1991
Studio: AB-PT Pictures (Distributed by Republic Pictures)
Starring: John Carradine, Allison Hayes, Myron Healy, Sally Todd, Marilyn Buferd, Tor Johnson, Arthur Batanides, Harry Fleer
Directed By: Brooke L. Peters
Theatrical Running Time: 73 Minutes
Tagline: "LURED! TO THE HOUSE OF MONSTERS! NO ESCAPE FROM... 'THE UNEARTHLY'! "
... but FIRST! ...Short:
Title: Posture Pals
Genre: Short Subject/Educational
Studio: Avis Films, Inc.
Directed By: N/A
Theatrical Running Time: 10 Minutes
Tagline: N/AShorts Synopsis:
The grade class at Valley School is taking a posture test. Teacher Miss Martin attempts to teach her students about the importance of good posture. Students Tommy, Jimmy, Jane and Mary agree to become 'posture pals' over the coming weeks, in the hopes of being proclaimed 'King', 'Queen', 'Prince' and 'Princess' of posture at the end of Miss Martin's irrelevant challenge.
... but Wait! There's MORE! ...Short:
Title: Appreciating Our Parents
Genre: Short Subject/Educational
Studio: Coronet Instuctional Media
Directed By: N/A
Theatrical Running Time: 10 Minutes
Tagline: N/AShorts Synopsis:
An elementary school age boy named Tommy realizes what a slacker he is, and learns to appreciate how much his parents really do for him, then figures out what he can do to pitch in and help the entire family. A real guilt trip.
... and now... OUR FEATURE PRESENTATION!Film Synopsis:
Deranged scientist Dr. Charles Conway (John Carradine
), under the guise of being a psychiatrist, is actually seeking the proverbial 'Fountain of Youth', by conducting experiments in longevity in human beings accompanied by his assistant Dr. Sharon Gilchrist (Marilyn Buferd
) and hired hand Lobo (Tor Johnson
). Dr. Loren Wright (Roy Gordon
) provides Conway with his human test subjects, the most recent of which is one Grace Thomas (Allison Hayes
The catch for Dr. Wright is that none of the victims... er,... patients must have any living relatives. That way they can't be traced by the authorities once they turn out to be mutated... er, ... dead... uh, I mean... missing! Yeah, that's it!
Once Grace is settled into her room in the Conway home sanitarium, Conway and Gilchrist examine Harry Jedrow (Harry Fleer
), who is in a catatonic and rigormortified (yet still living) state, the latest victim of Conway's failed series of experiments.
Soon we're introduced to Mark Houston (Myron Healey
), a proclaimed hitch-hiker that has lost his way. After being found trespassing on the Conway estate by Lobo, Mark is delivered to Conway who identifies him as wanted killer Frank Scott. Conway offers Houston sanctuary from the police in exchange for help in his experiments, developing a 'seventeenth gland' that will grant life everlasting. Mark consents, and at breakfast the next morning he meets fellow patients Natalie (Sally Todd
) and excitable boy Danny (Arthur Batanides
Later that day, Natalie is told by Conway that she has been successfully rehabilitated and can go home after one more treatment. Mark becomes curious when she doesn't show up for dinner that evening. Suspecting that she has fallen prey to Dr. Conway's ulterior motives, he sneaks up to her room after supper to discover her missing. Mark tries to warn Grace about Conway, but she will not listen. Dr.'s Conway and Gilchrist perform an operation on the drugged Natalie, surgically attaching the 'seventeenth gland' in the hopes that this time the procedure will be a success. After giving her a healthy dose of radiation, they place Natalie in a dungeon-like recovery area to await the outcome of the operation, which ultimately results in another failure.
The next day, after Mark and Grace return from an early morning walk, Conway presses Grace as to what the pair talked about. He warns her that Mark is a potentially dangerous man. That night, while sneaking around in the mansion, Mark finds the unresponsive Jedrow in a room in the cellar. He takes Grace to the dungeon to prove his assertions of Conway, but Jedrow is no longer there. The duo finds the disfigured Natalie in another room in the cellar, and Mark urges Grace to go upstairs and lock herself in her bedroom for her own safety.
Shortly thereafter, Mark spies Lobo carrying a coffin and lowering it into a grave. When Danny tries to sneak out of the mansion, the guard dogs scare him back inside and Lobo goes to investigate. While Lobo is away, Mark pries open the coffin and Jedrow sits up and opens his eyes. Lobo eventually returns to finish burying the now sealed coffin. Mark returns to the mansion and tells Danny to meet him and Grace in the living room late that night. Conway catches the trio and at gunpoint forces Mark and Danny down into the dungeon (with the ever resourceful Lobo's help), while Dr. Gilchrist takes Grace to the operating theater. Danny and Mark get the jump on Lobo, but Danny gets fatally shot. Mark locks Lobo in a cellar cell, and rushes upstairs to confront Dr. Conway.
Turns out, Mark Houston is not wanted killer Frank Scott, but actually an undercover cop! Conway gets the slip on Mark, but forgets his car keys. Upon returning to the house to retrieve them he is confronted by Harry Jedrow, who proceeds to stab Conway to death with a screwdriver. The authorities arrive at the mansion and arrest Gilchrist, Mark revives the unconscious Grace and the cops find Danny dead in the cellar along with a cell packed with the horribly disfigured results of Dr. Conway's failed experiments. The cops leave the scene to go and arrest Dr.Wright, and Mark and Grace kiss and presumably live happily ever after. Intro:
Joel has allowed Gypsy, Crow and Tom to film a spontaneous/staged "America's Funniest Home Video". The premise has Crow --- dressed as a little girl --- perilously perched atop a stack of boxes containing highly flammable pajamas, dangerously close to an open flame.Invention Exchange:
Crow ends up burned beyond recognition, but the home video is
funny. The Mads present "hard pills to swallow". Such as... a vitamin sized pill, which should be easy to swallow aside from the three-pronged fishhook on the end. A really, really large, not so 'tiny-time pill' that in addition to being huge, has a live gerbil ---Terry--- in it. ("If you can keep it down, you'll have a pet that knows you inside and out!
"). A pill necklace of picric acid... highly volatile! And for the children... life-size cartoon character shaped vitamins.
Joel presents "Celebrity Home Appliances". The Emilio Este'PEZ', the Jimmie ''J.J.' Walker' ("Keeps me walkin', standin' upright. Turns an ordinary stroll... DYN-O-MITE!
"). Get canned
from the Ed Sullivan show with the Jackie 'Mason jar' or massage a friend with the Charlie 'Callas massager'.Host Segments:Host 1: "Appreciating Gypsy"
Tom does the voice over in a parody of the 2nd short, with Crow representing slacker Tommy.(Servo)
: "This is the story of a robot named Crow. Can you guess what Crow is thinking? Crow is thinking hard... or as hard as he can think anyway, about how the satellite got so darn clean. Think hard. Think real hard now, you dope! Who does these things when we're too lazy?... too bloated on dinners of rich foods and generous portions of our own gargantuan egos! Who de-bugs the massive computer control center, because our own infeeble brains can barely add fractions? Who provides the warm, inviting water in which you bathe your filthy, oil-stained carcass? Who goes on mind-bendingly dangerous missions outside in the cold black void of unforgiving space, while you set inside, cozy as Alistair Cooke, sipping on cocoa and watching 'Tiny Toons'? Pinch yourself hard, Mr. Robot! You deserve it! You think you're all sunshine and goodness, but you're nothing but dirt between the toes of an evil troll! Who periodically changes the plutonium rods in the nuclear reactor deep within the bowels of the ship, while you feast on gooey handfuls of 'Fiddle-Faddle'? Who...?"
Crow gets fed up with Tom's razzing and the pair quickly come to blows, but Gypsy diffuses the situation without saying a word, merely with her prescence.Host 2:
Joel and the Bots agree that "The Unearthly" is un-bearable, but at least one of the cast members is a decent actor that has done some good work in the past. Joel is all set to offer another
one of his artist's rendering presentations, this one being "The Life and Times of John Carradine". The Bots however interrupt, and give us a 'video toaster' presentation... "The Many Faces of Tor Johnson.".Host 3:
The Bots create a game (using a mixture of pieces and rules from the many incomplete board games that they have lying around) whose theme revolves around the many rooms of Dr. Conway's 'Unearthly' mansion (the primary setting of today's experiment). Joel becomes so involved with reading the confounding rules of the game that the fun fizzles quickly. End:
Joel reads a fan letter. The Bots and Joel respond in their best 'Bowery Boys' voices and attitudes. Frank and Dr. F. join in. Stinger:
): "Time for go to bed!"Items of Note:
~ Look for a bunch of previous Invention Exchanges on the messy bridge, before it's cleaned up in 'Host 1'.
~ Crow is still all messed up in the auditorium during the first short. After excusing himself to 'freshen up', he returns to his familiar sihouette.
~ Video Toaster!!!??? (Oh, my! How times and technology have changed!)Personal Notes:
~ The fanzine riff session during the opening credits of the feature is priceless.
~ The hard pill to swallow sketch is a laugh riot, simply becuase of the chemistry between Trace and Frank.
~ Joel seems to have a tendency to mispronounce words (whether intentional or not), most notably 'pelvist' = (pelvis).
~ Trace's Leo Gorcey impression in the 'End segment' is spot on!The 'Riffs':
): "Avis Films. We try
): "Miss Martin! Tommy drew a bong!"
): "Tommy only showers half his body --- to save water!"
): "You read Newsweek
? What a loser
~ (Dr. Conway in surgery
): "Scalpel... clamp... clamp... clamp... now, wipe my brow... clamp... sponge... No. 23 scalpel..." (Tom
) "Ah, there we go! I'll be through her gown in no
): "Oh, Cripes! I turned her into a Sleestak!"
): "Geez! 'My Dinner with Andre' had more locations than this film!"
Pop culture references ranging from Elvis Costello, 'Grandpa' Al Lewis and Ann B. Davis to Dick Clark, 'The Lathe of Heaven', 'Sominex' and 'Fawlty Towers'. This experiment, even with two
'shorts' and a short feature film, still seems to last an eternity. The talented stable of writers and actors at BBI is the only true reason that this combination would be humanly tolerable. A very good presentation.Rating:
3 'hard pills to swallow' out of 5.
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